Feds: Alabama man arrested near US Capitol had truckload of weapons
Published 6:25 am Wednesday, January 13, 2021
An Alabama man arrested near the U.S. Capitol after the rioting had a truckload of weapons, including components for 11 explosive devices, guns, smoke devices and machetes, along with a note containing information about a member of Congress, prosecutors wrote in court documents Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors wrote that the note and volume of weapons Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, had in his truck suggest he had “an intent to provide them to others” and to attack members of Congress. Coffman was charged with multiple firearms crimes.
“This is a defendant with access to firearms and numerous other lethal weapons, dangerous incendiary mixtures creating napalm, who appears to have been motivated to conduct violence against our elected representatives, prosecutors wrote in a motion asking for Coffman to remained jailed until trial.
The note in the truck referred to a judge appointed by then-president Barack Obama as a “bad guy” and gave the name of a member of Congress, noting the representative is of Muslim faith.
“The defendant brought these weapons to the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Capitol Building, and traveled the area with two firearms on his person. The amount of weapons suggests an intent to provide them to others, as no one person could reasonably use so many at once,” prosecutors wrote.
Coffman, who is from Falkville, was arrested the evening of Jan. 6, after a riot in the U.S. Capitol by a mob backing President Donald Trump. The breach of the Capitol followed a rally earlier in the day in which the president spoke.
Prosecutors said Coffman left his truck in the morning that day of chaos and rioting and was arrested when he returned to the truck in the evening. Law enforcement officers said they swept the area after pipe bombs were found near two buildings.
“The defendant told law enforcement that he had been trying to get back to the pickup truck throughout the day, but that he was turned away in light of the explosives investigations,” prosecutors wrote.
Another Alabama man, who was out on bond on drug charges, was taken into custody Monday after being accused of participating in last week’s riot.
Court records show that a judge on Monday revoked the bond for 23-year-old William Watson after prosecutors said he was identified in photographs and video of the riot.
“Video surveillance from inside the Capital Building recorded images of protestors inside the building, including images of the Defendant dressed in a yellow sweatshirt standing next to a man with horned hat. The Defendant was identified by local authorities,” prosecutors wrote in a motion.
The FBI released the image of the bearded man in the yellow sweatshirt among photos of rioters they were hoping to identify.
WRBL reported that Watson was arrested Monday afternoon in Auburn. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said Watson is in the county jail after having his bond revoked. He does not have any federal charges at this time, according to a search of court records.
Authorities noted that they were also able to identify Watson by the distinctive tattoos on his hand, and that Watson himself appeared to describe his participation in a social media post.
“They wanna call me antifa because I have a video game tattoo on my hand and I was pleading for peaceful discourse. Let em say what they will. The fake news won’t win against thousands of patriots who recorded today,” read a social media post that prosecutors attributed to Watson.